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Topic Preparing for cognitive decline? Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By jcoff012 On 2013.02.19 18:47
In the last five days, we have been facing the unexpected, massive stroke that my husband's best friend is fighting to survive. After speaking with his adoring wife again today, we realize that we need to prepare for my PWP's eventual cognitive decline. Because we are not there yet, but realizing life changes on a dime, do any of you have any suggestions?

Do we need to do anything to prepare? And, stupidly, I know, how do you tell when it starts happening to the point that the homes we are buying, IRAs, TSA's, etc. are in possible jeopardy? If this is a dumb post, please ignore it, but we are extremely tired and worried for them, which, of course, fell back on PD.

Just now, listening to his wife sobbing with my husband, seeing her pain, is unbearable. But, we truly, albeit selfishly, need to plan, don't we? Love to you all, Jane

And, yes, this is adding yet another large issue on our plates...seems to be never-ending at times, but life is like that. We go on.

By lurkingforacure On 2013.02.19 19:56
I think if you were to go to an attorney, they would recommend moving assets out of your husband's name into yours, and get POA, medical POA, etc. This is not to hide them at all, but to manage them more easily should decline occur. Medicare has a 5 year look back rule, so any asset moved within 5 years of death is subject to recapture....if I got that right. I learned some of this with my mom, because she wanted to transfer some things to me but she never did because she passed away before she got a chance to. I loved her for her thoughts, though, always thinking ahead no matter how painful.

I guess I would take stock of what all you have, and try to imagine how you would manage it if your husband was no longer competent...that will give you a lot of answers right there. Note: there are tax consequences of everything we do: so I think a tax expert in this area would be almost as valuable, if not more so, than an attorney. Tip: If it were me, IMHO I would find a tax expert who does not sell life insurance or investments, because I think that's a huge conflict of interest to know someone's net worth on the one hand, while on the other you are trying to sell them products that affect that net worth.

By jcoff012 On 2013.02.19 21:51
I think I need to clarify before anyone else posts. Everything we have is joint...all credit (though I have established my own for over 25 years, thanks, Dad).

Well, everything but his TSA, which, after thirty years is considerable, but on which I am the beneficiary..we are each other's health care POA and our daughter is second up to bat! Lol

My main question is IF I am beneficiary or have POA, which is recorded, is it also necessary to do this later, as he worsens...not there so far. Thanks again

By lurkingforacure On 2013.02.20 08:40
Jane, each state is different, but know that in many states, a POA only allows someone to act in addition to, not really in place of, another person.

In other words, assume a bank account in his name only: you have his POA and provide a copy to the bank. This means that now you can also add to, withdraw, loan against, etc., that account...but so can he. Giving you his POA does not mean he gives up HIS powers, only that he also authorizes you to have powers, so that with a POA, now both of you have authority over that account.

If capacity declines, a POA does not prevent your husband from getting down to the bank and withdrawing all the money, putting a loan against it, giving it away, etc. That is why, IMHO, assets need to be in the healthy spouse's name (this has issues as well, such as tax issues, and also if something suddenly happened to you, we never know what the future holds). Do not expect a bank or financial institution to get involved in having to decide whether someone "should" be allowed access to their money in their account: they almost never will. If it turns out the person was, in fact, competent at that time, they could be sued...

Another way to handle this is with a trust, but that can get complicated and expensive....the main thing to remember is that there are TAX consequences with moving assets around, so know what they are before you take action.

By jcoff012 On 2013.02.20 09:10
Interesting...food for thought. I brought this up after reading the other post about cognitive decline, because most, if not all, of the poster's PWP is already in decline, and like you said, I don't want to do anything illegal or has tax consequences. Thank you for responding, I appreciate it.

We have been pretty careful with our monies, properties, etc., but one never knows, does one?

Hugs and love, Jane

By McCall On 2013.02.20 13:50
I just redid our durable POA's because the ones we had were done in 1985. and while normally they are good till revoked, recent changes in MA law, [where I live] say that they should be renewed every three years. If not many institutions will refuse to honor them, so you might think about that.

I am trying now to find out what I need to by pass the HIPPA laws and be considered his health care agent, I have his Health care proxy but that is if he is unable to make own decisions which has to be determined by Dr's we want one where I can discuss with the doctor on his behalf now while he is still ok mentally.

Also after recent events I am thinking of having a Post marital agreement drawn up in the event he does go off the deep end and acuse me of things and get a divorce. If that happened there would be no reasoning out things then.
Horible step to take but after 44 years of marriage he was ready to through me out in the street with the clothes on my back just a few months ago over an obssive delusional affair. So even though he is back to normal now I can't take chances, I never worked and cannot now support myself, so I need protection too.

By lurkingforacure On 2013.02.20 16:25
mccall, I had my mom's health care POA and never had a problem talking to her doctors or hospital or anything about her care. You might contact those people and ask them if the healthcare poa is sufficient, I have never heard of having to have anything more than that. Let us know what they tell you.

By karolinakitty On 2013.02.21 22:27
Jane...when we first entered into this walk..Jim was diagnosed LBD and we "thought" as well as the docs his cognitive decline was emminent and prepared for everything...one thing we did that most don't consider is this...we set up an agreement with the lawyer that in the event of his decline and declared incompetent NO POA guarantees guardianship....

Even though you are his spouse...if there are brothers, sisters, children who can claim him incompetent, even though you have POA, they can have guardianship over him...or conservatorship(spelling)

They can have you spending money on services YOU can provide but because they are saying it is in his best interest...on and on... get my drift?

Our attorney suggested to Jim, and mostly because there are bad blood family issues and we are not yet legally married...that he set up an agreement with the attorney while he is in his right mind that I be the sole guardian or conservatress of his money, health and general living needs. Now that is here in SC, soooo I don't know how all states are setup for issues like that. But here in SC if his children(not in SC) claim he is incompetent and win... I have no say and they could even throw me out of this house... we wanted ALL our bases covered.......
A healthcare POA is only as good as those who are looking at it..some have to explicitly say MENTAL health issues, feeding tubes...etc....

we have, of course the will, living POA, healthcare POA with certain restrictions and agreement for guardianship(conservatorship)....

By Trusting On 2013.02.21 23:12
We have finally gone to a lawyer and had everything fixed. If my husband cannot make decisions anymore I can have a dr. state that and things will be turned over to me only to handle. I have to admit this wasn't cheap but my sons told me it has given them the peace of mind they needed. I have to admit it feels good to know that we won't have to get the courts involved when things decline.

By parkinit On 2013.02.22 00:58
This is very complicated, Jane, but warrants everyone on this board's serious consideration for their own situations. If you have substantial assets, even trusts will not protect your money unless you have separate trusts and then the portion in your trust is protected. The real question here, and at this point has an unknown answer, is will your spouse willingly let you take over handling things and understand their weakened cognitive state? Some may; some may try to deny it and stumble bumble on with assets. You cannot take over handling a trust for your spouse unless you are named successor trustee. With joint trusts, each can act independently of another - like an "or" statement (i.e., John or Betty). And, most trusts are written up so that you have to have two doctors declare your spouse incompetent before they can be deemed such. If your spouse feels they are still competent, things could get sticky quickly. The best advice is to seek the opinion of a lawyer on how to write something up to protect you. Now is the time to have these convos with your spouse while they are still cognitively sharp. how would they want it to be handled if they suddenly lost cognitive abilities to protect both of you? Yes, these are sensitive convos but are so very necessary now.


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